Winter Weather Exercises To Try During Cancer Treatment

Winter Weather Exercises To Try During Cancer Treatment

Winter Weather Exercises To Try During Cancer Treatment

Winter can be a tough time to stay active if you're undergoing a cancer treatment plan. The cold weather and shorter days make it harder to get out and about, and the holiday season can add even more stress to an already difficult time. But it's important to stay as active as possible during treatment, both for your physical and mental health.


Here are a few winter weather exercises that are perfect for cancer patients and cancer survivors.



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Resistance Training or Strength Training


It's no secret that cancer treatment can be tough on the body. Many patients experience fatigue, nausea, and other side effects that make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

However, exercise is an important part of cancer treatment, and there are a few winter weather exercises that can be especially beneficial.

One great option is resistance training. This type of exercise helps to build the major muscle groups, improve bone density, and increase stamina--all of which can be helpful during cancer treatment.

Additionally, resistance training can help patients maintain their independence and improve their quality of life.

Start with simple exercises like bodyweight squats and lunges, and gradually increase the intensity as you build strength. You can also use resistance bands or dumbbells to add extra challenge.

Remember to listen to your body and take things at your own pace. If you’re feeling sore or fatigued, take a break or reduce the intensity of your workout.


Yoga or Flexibility Exercises


One type of cancer patient exercise that can be particularly helpful is flexibility training. Stretching and gentle yoga poses can help to increase range of motion, reduce stiffness, and improve circulation. And since they can be done indoors, they’re a great option for days when the weather is too cold or snowy to go outside!

Another option is to join exercise programs specifically designed for cancer patients. Many yoga studios offer chairs for students who can't stand for long periods of time.

Don't forget to ask your cancer care team or an exercise specialist if there are any poses that you should avoid in your exercise routine.




Pilates is another good option for cancer patients who want to stay active without putting too much strain on their bodies. Like yoga, pilates can be done from the comfort of your own home, and there are tons of online classes and tutorials available.

If you're able to go to a studio, look for one that offers private or semi-private classes so that you can get the individualized attention you need. 


Tai Chi


Tai chi is a form of gentle exercise that can be beneficial for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Classically, tai chi is performed slowly and deliberately, with each movement flowing into the next. The low-impact nature of the exercise makes it easy on the joints, and the slow, deep breathing can help to calm and focus the mind. Tai chi can also help to improve balance and coordination, which can be helpful for patients who are feeling unsteady on their feet.

For cancer patients who are interested in trying tai chi, there are many instructional videos and classes available online. Tai chi can be done indoors or outdoors, making it a great option for winter weather exercises.


Brisk Walking or Light Cardio


Brisk walking is a great low-impact activity that can be done almost anywhere.

Start with a short walk around the block, and gradually increase the distance as you're able. Getting outside for some fresh air can do wonders for your mental health, even if it's just around the block a few times. And if you're feeling up to it, you can even add in some light jogging or sprints.

If you have trouble walking long distances, try starting with just ten minutes at a time. And if it's too cold to walk outside, consider walking laps around your house or doing some cardio on a stationary bike.

You may also try aerobic exercises, and join a low-impact aerobics class. These classes are designed for people of all cardiovascular fitness levels and can be modified to accommodate different needs.


Elliptical Trainer


An elliptical trainer is a great option for a low-impact workout. The motion is easy on the joints, making it ideal for people who are recovering from surgery or dealing with pain.

Additionally, elliptical trainers are often equipped with handles, so you can get an upper-body workout as well.




If you’re looking for a more challenging workout, try a treadmill. You can increase the incline to make it more difficult, or add intervals to give your heart and lungs a good workout.

Just be sure to start slow and increase the intensity gradually to avoid feeling overwhelmed.


Indoor Swimming


Swimming is a great low-impact aerobic exercise that's easy on the joints. The water provides resistance that can help build muscle, and the warm temperature can help ease joint pain.

If you don’t have access to a pool, consider taking some water aerobics classes at your local community center.


Pike Push-Ups


Pike push-ups are a great way to increase upper body muscle strength and flexibility. They can also help to improve balance and coordination. These can be done indoors or outdoors, and they don't require any special equipment.

Start in a downward dog position, then slowly lower your head down towards the floor. Once your head is close to the ground, push back up into downward dog.

You can also try variations of this exercise session by placing your hands on an elevated surface or by doing one-armed pike push-ups. And if you're feeling up to it, try adding a few reps to your daily routine!


Wall Sit


This is a simple but effective exercise that works your large muscle groups--quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings.

To do a wall sit, stand with your back against a wall and slide down until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for as long as you can, then slowly stand back up. Start with 30-second intervals and gradually increase the duration as your strength and endurance improve.

Wall sits can be done anywhere, so they're perfect for when you’re stuck indoors due to bad weather.


7 Health Benefits of Exercise during Cancer Treatment


Exercise can help cancer patients in a variety of ways:


  • It Can Improve Physical Strength and Endurance

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy can cause muscle weakness and fatigue, but regular exercise can help to increase strength and endurance. Physical activity can help to build up the muscles and bones, making it easier for cancer patients to do everyday activities.


  • It Can Improve Mood

The endorphins released when you exercise have been shown to improve mood, making it an excellent tool for managing depression or anxiety. Regular exercise has also been linked to improved sleep quality, which is essential for healing and recovery.


  • It Can Improve Mental Well-Being

Exercise can help to reduce stress, which is important during cancer treatment. Stress can have a negative impact on your overall health, so finding ways to relax and unwind are essential. Cancer patients also often feel isolated and alone, but exercise can help them to feel connected and part of a community.


  • It Can Boost Immune System

While cancer patients undergo treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, their immune systems can become suppressed. This can leave them more vulnerable to infection and other illnesses.

Exercise has been shown to increase the body’s production of immune cells. This can help cancer patients fight off infections and speed up their recovery.


  • It Can Help to Manage Side Effects

Exercise can help to manage the physical and psychological side effects of cancer treatment. Regular exercise can help to reduce pain, fatigue, and nausea. It can also help you to either maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, which can be beneficial for some cancer patients.



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  • It Can Improve Cancer Recurrence Rates and Overall Survival Rates

Studies have shown that regular exercise can help to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence and improve overall survival rates of certain cancers, such as prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Exercise increases circulation, which helps to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to cells throughout the body. This can speed up recovery and improve long-term health outcomes.


  • It Can Help You to Feel in Control

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can rob patients of their independence and sense of control. Exercise can help to reclaim those feelings by providing something for the cancer survivor or patient to focus on and achieve. Exercise can be a way for them to take back their lives, even if it’s just for short periods throughout the day.


9 Winter Weather Exercise Guidelines during Cancer Treatment


  • Check with Your Doctor to See if There Are Any Activities You Should Avoid

Before you start any type of exercise program, it’s important to talk to a physical therapist or an exercise physiologist. They'll be able to give you specific guidance on what types of activities are appropriate for your stage of treatment and fitness level.


  • Dress Appropriately

Make sure you wear the right clothes for the weather conditions. Opt for layers that can easily be removed or added as needed, such as a base layer of long underwear followed by a sweater and jacket. You should also wear shoes with good grip to avoid slips and falls on icy surfaces.


  • Be Aware of Your Energy Level

During cancer treatment, it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Take short walks instead of longer ones if necessary, or opt for exercise sessions that don’t require a lot of energy, such as yoga or tai chi.


  • Stay Hydrated

It’s easy to become dehydrated during cold weather exercise, so make sure you drink plenty of fluids before and after your workout. If possible, carry a water bottle with you while you exercise.


  • Be Aware of Potential Weather Hazards

During winter months, it’s important to be aware of potential hazards such as snowdrifts or icy surfaces. Be prepared for the weather and take appropriate safety measures when out in cold conditions.


  • Stick to Indoor Activities When Necessary

If the weather is too extreme for outdoor activities, there are still plenty of options for indoor workouts. Try an online yoga class or a virtual spin class, or take a leisurely walk around your local shopping mall.


  • Warm Up before You Start Exercising and Cool Down Afterwards

Warm-up exercises should be done gradually and should focus on the muscles you’ll be using for your workout. After you’ve finished exercising, it’s equally important to keep moving by doing some cool-down exercises or stretching. This'll help your body adjust to the cold weather and reduce the risk of injury.


  • Start Slowly and Build Up Gradually

Don't try to do too much at once! A few minutes of walking each day is a great place to start, and you can always increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as you begin to feel stronger.

Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. If that's too much, start with 10-15 minutes and build up gradually.

The American Cancer Society recommends that people who are in cancer treatment should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week.


  • If You Have Any Pain or Discomfort, Stop Immediately

Listen to your body and be aware of any changes. If you experience pain or discomfort while exercising, stop immediately and talk to your doctor or cancer rehabilitation specialist.


Final Thoughts


Cancer diagnosis can be a difficult time. You might feel like you're not in control of your body anymore. But there are things you can do to help yourself feel better, and exercise is one of them!

It's important to think about what kind of exercise is right for you. You might want to talk to your health care team or a certified personal trainer about what kinds of exercise are safe for you. By getting creative and mixing things up, you can stay active throughout cancer treatment and beyond.

So put on your coziest sweater, blast some tunes, and get moving!



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